A prophylaxis involves removing superficial plaque, tarter and stain accumulated over a period of time. This is done by rotating a rubber-cup filled with an abrasive tooth paste against all exposed surfaces of tooth enamel. Tarter which is found below the gumline is removed by the dentist on examination. Kids get to choose what flavor they’d like for the cleaning and we offer a variety of kid friendly flavors that most kids really like…grape, strawberry cream, orange cream…wow, just typing that is making me hungry.
Flouride is a mineral used to strengthen enamel which has been weakened by acids sitting against the tooth. It acts by aiding the teeth in remineralization. Even if your child does not eat a lot of sugars he or she still has bacteria in the mouth that will produce acid with a normal diet. Acid, if left on enamel, slowly dissolves the tooth surface by pulling minerals off of the tooth. The acid “eats away at the mineral structure” You may even think of it like the tooth getting microscopic potholes across it’s surface. Over time, this dissolving action can lead to the development of a cavity, or a giant sink-hole. Fluoride basically acts like a plug, filling in those potholes to help prevent the cavity from occurring. Most people are exposed to fluoride in their water, food, and toothpaste, but by itself, it is usually not enough. Our in-office fluoride application makes up for the difference. Here in Kootenai County the lack of water fluoridation also makes most kids in the area prone to need a supplemental fluoride prescription which we will provide if desired.
X-rays are taken as a diagnostic tool. Cavities which form between the teeth can often only be seen when taking these films. X-rays can also help us determine your child’s risk potential for future cavities. Cavities which grow very quickly tell us your child likely has a combination of many cavity-producing bacteria with a carbohydrate-rich diet. Visualizing X-ray films can also point us in the right direction for orthodontic evaluation and need by showing us space available as well as making us aware of missing teeth or extra teeth which occur more often than one might suspect. Our x-ray process is state of the art and digital so the radiation exposure is less than a 1/3rd that of conventional film based radiography.